6th July 2012 at 01:00
The problem: I teach in a primary where we have an older child whose defiance quickly turns to violence. I've worked well with him in the past, so he's been put in my class. Weekly, I end up having to send my class outside to play while I give this child space to calm down and make the room safe again

What you said

This sounds ridiculous; get on to your union. They are taking advantage of you.


The expert view

This child should not be in mainstream education. It astounds me that the senior leadership team does not know what needs to be done, so I will spell it out:

1. He needs to be removed from a mainstream classroom and alternative provision must be made for him. If he works OK in one-to-one situations, then that is where he needs to be.

2. The violence is unacceptable. Any child that cannot cope with the normal demands of a classroom setting should be removed and re-educated in community values and responses.

3. You do not have a right to refuse to teach, but the school has a duty of care to you. If you pursued an action due to stress, you might have a case. But do not do that unless you have to.

4. Let the school know that you cannot cope with this any longer. Shout loudly about it. Writing behaviour reports is less than useless; it just creates the impression that something is being done.

5. I wonder if the other parents could be persuaded to talk to the head.

6. Every time this child kicks off, have him removed. If he does so dangerously, then your school is failing to provide you with a safe working environment.

7. Let the union know - they do not often intervene in such matters, but the fact that you have logged it could be useful were you to pursue a legal option.

8. Log every incident and log the school's responses.

9. On a practical note, this child is getting an ocean of attention every time he bangs his little feet. Try to have him taught away from the group or, better still, in an individual setting. Let him know that reintegration is dependent on his ability to socialise.

Tom Bennett is author of The Behaviour Guru and Not Quite a Teacher. His latest book, Teacher, is out now, published by Continuum.

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